What is Aviation Insurance?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Aviation insurance is insurance which is designed specifically to meet the needs of aviators. There are a number of different types of available for a variety of aircraft and pilots. Laws about aviation insurance tend to be less clearly defined than those regarding car insurance, which can make it difficult to choose the right policy and carrier. Pilots who are not familiar with the specifics of the industry may want to consider asking for advice from an insurance broker or an experienced pilot.

Because their field is extremely dangerous, crop duster pilots are heavily insured.
Because their field is extremely dangerous, crop duster pilots are heavily insured.

Just as with insurance for other types of vehicles, there are a number of levels of coverage in aviation insurance policies, including liability coverage for accidents when the policyholder is at fault, theft and loss coverage, life insurance riders, and insurance for other types of situations, such as loss of cargo. The more services requested on a policy, the more expensive it will be. Coverage also varies depending on the type of craft: helicopters, sport planes, commercial airliners, and so forth are all covered differently.

Bush pilots who fly small airplanes or helicopters to remote locations often add special riders to their insurance policies.
Bush pilots who fly small airplanes or helicopters to remote locations often add special riders to their insurance policies.

People who own and operate their own aircraft generally purchase aviation insurance so that they are covered in a wide variety of situations, and so that their aircraft will be replaced if they are damaged, lost, or stolen. Owners may also cover insurance on aircraft they rent out, lease, or hire pilots to fly, in which case the individual pilot may need to carry additional insurance to be fully covered in the event of an incident.

People who lease or rent aircraft usually get aviation insurance which will cover them in the event that something happens to the aircraft while it is under their control. This insurance replaces the aircraft or pays for repairs and covers liability issues, such as injuries to people who were riding in the aircraft at the time of an accident. Many rental and leasing agencies ask for proof of insurance before they will release aircraft to pilots, or request that pilots purchase additional temporary coverage for special aircraft.

When shopping for aviation insurance, people should think about the overall cost of the policy, and the cost of the deductible. They should also make sure that they understand what is covered, and in which circumstances. For example, many policies exclude damages which occur in the hangar, requiring an additional hangar insurance rider for people who are concerned about theft of the aircraft or its equipment while it is in storage. Likewise, a pilot may be covered by insurance, but his or her family may not be part of the insurance policy unless this is specified.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

stevensegal

This coverage is similar to ground risk whole insurance not in motion, but provides coverage while the aircraft is taxiing, but not while taking off or landing.

Normally, coverage ceases at the start of the take-off roll and is in force only once the aircraft has completed its subsequent landing. In-flight coverage protects an insured aircraft against damage during all phases of flight and ground operation, including while parked or stored. Naturally it is more expensive than non-in-motion coverage since most aircraft are damaged while in motion.

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